Wim Wenders’s “Pina” is a tribute to Pina Bausch, the German dancer and choreographer who died unexpectedly in 2009. Along with fellow German doc jock Werner Herzog’s “Cave of Forgotten Dreams”, “Pina” is nominated for this year’s feature length documentary Oscar. Also like Herzog’s movie, Wenders’s was filmed in 3D.

Rekindling our movie dating past, Friday night being date night, I took Anne out to the movies. Back in high school, almost every Friday night was date night. Date night meaning a movie. Way back then, in the small, but cosmopolitan, Midwestern town of Ann Arbor, the number of movies being shown was somewhat limited. Most of the movie theaters only had one screen back then . Only the mall, Briarwood, had multiple screens. With fewer screens per capita, Hollywood made fewer movies. So in the slow seasons of the movie industry, we would easily run through all of the good movies and occasionally see some really bad ones. Tonight’s movie, does not fall in that category.

This movie was suggested to me by my former walking buddy, Barbara. I lost her to noon time walks of the tarmac, when she raptured, I mean retired, last year. I pray that I too may be so-called one day.

I mainly found the 3D aspect of the film annoying. I found the 3D images about as realistic as those of the old toy View-Master stereoscope images. The dancers in each scene appeared as moving 2D cutouts, between background and foreground scenery. And yes, after a while, I got that ache between the eyes. The retrofitting of past movies to 3D, like “Titanic” that were promoted in the coming attractions, was even more cartoonish. Speaking of “Titanic”, what white star decided that the movie should reopen on April 6th, when the great ship went down on the 15th? One redeeming quality of the 3D effect, was that even with my strong eye, weak eye vision, I could easily read the title credits. Usually after the end of a long day, I am too blurry eyed to see them.

Finally now, on to the dance, the movie deployed four main tent poles of Bausch’s work. “Rite of Spring”, based upon Stravinsky’s music, “Café Müller”, what I took to be her signature piece, “Meeting Hall” and “Full Moon”. Anyone of these pieces, danced end-to-end, could have made the centerpiece of the movie, but heavy editing, chopped them all to pieces and then fit them into the movie’s 104 minute timeline. It was the vignettes, the gap fillers that really made this movie for me. The strength segment of the trailer, gives you a hint of some of her humor. I liked what she did with water, but I loved what she did with dirt.

Her best last testament comes not from her dances, but from her dancers. Using voiceovers, subtitles or just being mute, her dancers appear as thinking heads, instead of talking heads. The love and respect that they display is evident throughout the movie. Pina’s love for her dancers seemed most apparent by their longevity. Broadway dancers can measure their careers on one hand, most others, maybe two, her troupe counted participants with twenty to thirty years with the company. That’s not just love, that’s family.

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